Perfect Pound Cake

4.5 stars based on 28 votes
Tested & Perfected Recipes

Pound Cake

Pound cake is like the little black dress of dessert: it’s elegant in its simplicity; you can dress it up or down; and it’s wonderful anytime, anywhere. My all-time favorite recipe comes from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, a classic and essential cookbook for all bakers. While most traditional pound cake recipes call for equal weights of flour, sugar, eggs and butter, Rose’s recipe incorporates milk, lots of extra butter, and a little baking powder. The result is a rich and buttery yet fluffy pound cake that melts in your mouth. Rose writes: “This cake not only has a silky-smooth dissolving texture similar to famous Sara Lee pound cake but also the incomparable moist, butter flavor of a home-baked cake. It’s excellent keeping qualities make it ideal for slicing ahead and bringing on picnics.”

how to make pound cake

Before we get to the step-by-step instructions, a few words about the method. Pound cake is a “high-ratio” cake, which means that the weight of the sugar equals or exceeds the weight of the flour. Why does this matter? Instead of the more common “creaming” method (where the butter and sugar are beaten together before the eggs, flour and liquid are added), high-ratio cakes can be made using the “high-ratio” or “quick-mix” method. This involves mixing all the dry ingredients with the butter and some of the liquid first, then adding the remaining liquid ingredients. This method is not only faster and easier than the traditional creaming method, but it also yields incredibly tender and fine-textured cakes.

how to make pound cake

To begin, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk with a fork until just combined and set aside.

how to make pound cake

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

how to make pound cake

Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended.

how to make pound cake

Add the butter and half of the egg mixture.

how to make pound cake

Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.

how to make pound cake

Increase the mixer speed to medium (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for one minute.

how to make pound cake

Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 separate additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to combine.

how to make pound cake

Be sure not to over-mix, or you’ll incorporate too much air into the batter and your pound cake won’t dome as nicely.

how to make pound cake

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

how to make pound cake

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

how to make pound cake

Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

how to make pound cake

Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap or store in a large sealable plastic bag. The wrapped pound cake will keep for several days at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated, or it can be frozen for two months. Enjoy!

how to make pound cake

My Recipe Videos

Perfect Pound Cake

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons milk (skim, low fat, or whole)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/3 cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a straight edge
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (no need to cut it in pieces)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Lightly grease an 8-in x 4-in x 2½-inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess. (Alternatively, use a nonstick cooking spray with flour in it, such as Baker’s Joy or Pam Baking Spray with Flour.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until just combined.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 separate additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to combine. Do not over-mix. (The batter may have a slightly curdled or grainy appearance -- that's okay.)
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap or store in a large sealable plastic bag.
  6. The wrapped pound cake will keep for several days at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 339
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Sugar: 19 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 139 mg
  • Cholesterol: 120 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jen,

    I’m interested to know how I could adapt this cake to become an orange pound cake? Are you able to help please? Many thanks, Nicole

    • — Nicole on July 22, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Nicole, You could add a teaspoon or two of orange zest to the batter, as well as an orange glaze made from confectioners sugar and orange juice. (Just don’t add orange juice to the cake batter, as that will alter the chemistry.)

      • — Jenn on July 22, 2018
      • Reply
      • Thanks for the advice Jen. I haven’t made it yet but I’m looking forward to trying it. I love all of your recipes.. You’re my go to! 🙂

        • — Nicole on September 5, 2018
        • Reply
  • luscious. absolutely luscious. thank you for this recipe. i was a bit skeptical at first because i was reading some dissatisfaction among the other comments.

    however, i have learned that a recipe is only as good as the person who follows it. i have no qualms with this recipe. what i did discover was that for my oven, i need to set the temperature for 325 and to only bake the cake for 45 minutes. i also did not need the baking powder.

    other than those personal adjustments, this is a fabulous cake and once again i thank you. i couldn’t wait for it to cool. i sliced it while it was hot. it was light, moist, and fluffy and bouncy and just plain ole delicious. what else do you want from a cake recipe?

    • — marcell on July 10, 2018
    • Reply
  • Can I add blueberries to this pound cake?

    • — Karin Cody on July 7, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Karin, You could but you might find that it’s not sweet enough with the blueberries. I’d recommend trying my blueberry boy bait instead.

      • — Jenn on July 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • The cake had good flavor, but way too dense for me. I think next time I will add more liquid.

    • — Cheryl on June 11, 2018
    • Reply
  • I don’t have any milk or cream on hand but I do have almond milk. Would that work? I also have yogurt which I could dilute. Trying not to run to the store for one item.
    Traffic is terrible and we like to carefully plan our shopping trips.

    Thank you, I so love your recipes!

    • — Petra Smith on June 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Petra, Glad you like the recipes! The cake calls for such a small amount of milk that using almond milk should be fine. Hope you enjoy it!

      • — Jenn on June 10, 2018
      • Reply
  • What is the oven temperature?

    • — Cheryl on June 8, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Cheryl, The cake should be baked at 350°F/175°C. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 8, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi, I made this cake and it Came wonderfully, but the rip over the cake didn’t come as shown in the picture. Can you please explain more how to do it

    • — Roshani on May 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Roshani, Glad you enjoyed it! Regarding the split on the top, there’s no real science to it; each time I’ve made it, it’s come out a bit differently. Sometimes it has that split and sometimes it doesn’t. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2018
      • Reply
  • Could you make this cake in a bundt pan?

    • — Liz on May 3, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, I haven’t tried it, but the author of the recipe notes that she’s tested the cake over 40 times and there’s no way to get that same melt-in-your-mouth texture in a larger cake, so it’s best to keep the cake small. But you can safely double the recipe and use two 4-cup (8×4-in) loaf pans. The cake can also be made in a 6-cup loaf (9×5-in) or fluted tube pan. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 4, 2018
      • Reply
  • Bland and not nearly as sweet enough to be considered a pound cake. Texture and density are that of any regular cake and not a dense heavy pound cake. It needs, at least, double the eggs and another cup of sugar, more vanilla flavoring.

    • — Nevada on April 23, 2018
    • Reply
  • Amazing texture and flavor! Mine didn’t rise very high but was still darn good.

    • — Michele on April 12, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I love your Perfect Pound Cake and your Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake! However, my husband prefers a lemon pound cake made in a loaf pan- go figure! Can you please tell me how much lemon juice or zest should be added to the Perfect Pound Cake recipe without altering the beautiful texture? Thanks so much! I cannot wait to receive your new cookbook!!!😊

    • — Julie on March 4, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Julie, Rose Levy Beranbaum actually has a lemon poppy seed variation of her Perfect Pound Cake. Here’s a link to the recipe. You could also make my Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake in two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pans. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 4, 2018
      • Reply
      • Thank you for the the recommendations and your time. I gathered my courage and adjusted the Perfect Pound Cake using lemon zest, juice and a smidge of lemon oil. I also iced with a lemony glaze….another perfect cake!

        • — Julie on March 5, 2018
        • Reply
        • Glad you enjoyed! 🙂

          • — Jenn on March 6, 2018
          • Reply
  • Easy to make! I had a bit of cream cheese left from another recipe so I subbed it for some of the butter. IMO, the cake improves a day or two after being wrapped and stored. The crust softens and is more like the store bought pound cakes I remember from childhood.

    • — Serena on March 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • I recently made this wonderful pound cake.
    Super easy and my husband loved it. He said it was better than Starbucks. 🙂
    I didn’t have cake flour so I created my own with 1/4 c of cornstarch.
    I’ve loved every recipe I’ve tried.
    I always tell my friends you are my favorite chef!

    • — Sally on March 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made this exactly per recipe and it tasted delicious. I froze half a loaf and served it to guests with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and a dollop of sour cream/brown sugar. This pound cake freezes perfectly so can made made ahead. I am so glad I tried your recipe.

    • — Sandy Evans on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • This pound cake is fantastic! Not too heavy or lite, and with so much great flavor. I had mine with some strawberries and home made whipped cream. Delicious!

    • — Ian Coltrin on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Followed the instructions to the letter… It certainly is the perfect pound cake… Thank you..

    • — Nilufer on February 19, 2018
    • Reply
  • Can you use all purpose flour if that is all you have?

    • — Karen on February 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, Do you have any cornstarch? For every 1 cup of AP flour, replace 2 tablespoons with cornstarch to make your own cake flour. All purpose flour alone will work, but the cake won’t be nearly as light and tender.

      • — Jenn on February 11, 2018
      • Reply
  • This recipe was very fast and easy! I really enjoyed the “quick mix” method.
    The pound cake was absolutely delicious and looked exactly like the one in the picture which looked just like one from a bakery! The whole family loved it and everyone came back for seconds! The outside had a yummy crisp crust and the middle was moist. I will be baking this recipe again and again! No need for Starbucks cake anymore!

    • — Marilyn K on February 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi! The cake was very delicious no doubt. I followed the recipe just like what you said, but I felt it was very dense and eggy. I felt very heavy after eating a few bites of it. I thought it was suppose to be light and spongy, did I do anything wrong?

    • — Anita on February 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Anita, sorry to hear this wasn’t quite right for you! The cake is definitely a bit dense (from a buttery melt in your mouth standpoint) but not eggy. Did you make any substitutions?

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I wanted to know if you use table or kosher salt? Thanks in advance.

    • — Diana on February 5, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Diana, I always use table salt unless otherwise specified. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2018
      • Reply
  • Excellent, I had an abundance of strawberries and blueberries. So I decided to make the pound cake when I saw it in my email. Excellent

    • — pat dyckes on February 5, 2018
    • Reply
  • This was a fantastic pound cake. I went by the recipe exactly as written. Very easy to make and delicious to eat. I think it would be wonderful with either peaches or strawberries and whip cream. Thank you.

    Carolyn

    • — Carolyn Cummings on February 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • My pound cake did not turn out perfect 🙁 it came out an undesirable spongy consistancy and tastes a little too eggy. What did I do?

    • — Taylor W. on February 3, 2018
    • Reply
    • So sorry you had trouble! Happy to help troubleshoot. Did you make any substitutions by chance?

      • — Jenn on February 3, 2018
      • Reply
      • No. I doubled the recipe because I wanted to make one for my grandmother. I double checked that I doubled every ingredient correctly and I’m certain I did…?!

        • — Taylor W. on February 4, 2018
        • Reply
        • I was trying to make sure I didn’t over mix it but is that possible? I have historically had trouble with more temperamental baking recipes because I’ve never really been a baker. Did I maybe add the egg mixture too quickly or is it possible to mix THAT part too much? I really thought I followed the recipe exactly but I must have missed something.

          • — Taylor W. on February 4, 2018
          • Reply
          • Hi Taylor, With the high-ratio method used here, you really don’t have to worry about overmixing so I don’t think that’s it. I wonder if you possibly made a mistake with the ingredients when doubling the recipe? I only ask because I have done that MANY times and have learned to rewrite the recipe before starting so I don’t accidentally forget to double something. This same recipe is on Joy of Baking with a video – I suggest watching it to be sure you did everything correctly. Hope that helps!

            • — Jenn on February 4, 2018
          • Those are awesome suggestions! Thank you!

            • — Taylor W. on February 4, 2018
  • We thought the cake was delicious, but I baked it in a glass pyrex and thought it got a little too dark. Would you reduce the temperature for a glass pan?

    • — Martha on February 1, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Martha, Yes, I’d reduce by 25°F.

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2018
      • Reply
  • I admit I’m not much of a baker. I prefer the savory side of life, but this pound cake is made with ingredients I always have on hand and looked so pretty online, I thought I’d give it a try. First, it’s very easy to make. Second, it’s a nice light dessert despite it being called “pound” cake. It could have been the bad baker in me, but this cake did not rise very tall – I would say about 3-3.5″ at the center. I did get the split in the top as shown. It has a very nice golden almost crispy crust and soft, but not super duper, moist center. I stopped short of 5 stars because I like a really moist cake and I cannot describe this pound cake as really moist though its flavor is quite satisfying. Definitely worth having on hand for a light dessert or breakfast cake.

    • — Heidi Youngs on February 1, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Heidi, It sounds like you did everything perfectly – the cake should be 3-1/2 inches high in the center. And you’re right, it is more of a fluffy cake then a dense, super-moist cake. That said, it’s possible that the cake could have been slightly overcooked. You might try reducing the cook time by about 5 minutes next time.

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2018
      • Reply
      • Like Heidi, I was disappointed by how dry this cake was. Also, the cake was not completely done in the middle. I’m a good, experienced baker. Two questions – Jenn, I used a metal pan to bake like in your photos – what temperature did you bake at using that pan? Also, what internal temperature should the cake be when done? I use my instant read thermometer all the time on baked goods.

        • — Linda Jean on February 7, 2018
        • Reply
        • Hi Linda, I’m sorry you did not get great results with this recipe! To answer your questions, I baked the cake 1t 350°F. I don’t use an instant-read thermometer for baked goods, but I believe the internal temp for a cake like this should be about 210°F. Perhaps you already do this as you mentioned you are a seasoned baker, but because pound cakes can be a bit finicky, you may want to measure the ingredients by weight to make sure you’re getting the amounts pretty exact. This same recipe is on Joy of Baking with a video – I suggest watching it to be sure you did everything correctly. Hope that helps!

          • — Jenn on February 7, 2018
          • Reply
          • I will take your suggestions to heart. I cannot remember if I weighed the ingredients. I made three different cakes over the weekend and I know I weighed out one of them, but I don’t think it was this one. I’ll be sure to try that. I baked at 350. I took the cake out before it was at 210 because I thought it was browning too much and the toothpick seemed right so I can make an adjustment there. I will watch that video. Thank you for your help. Your recipes have been sure things for me – always the best (fill in the blank) – so I’m going to give this another try.

            • — Linda Jean on February 7, 2018
  • I got excited when I got the email for this recipe. I’ve been wanting to try a new recipe for pound cake and this one was amazing. So light and fluffy. Just yummy yummy. You rock Jenn!

    • — Vanessa A. on February 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made ‘the perfect pound cake’ for my 93rd birthday! It was absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

    • — Elizabeth Bender on January 28, 2018
    • Reply
    • Happy 93rd birthday, Elizabeth! So happy you enjoyed it. 😊

      • — Jenn on January 28, 2018
      • Reply
    • Happy 93 indeed!

      • — Kathy Wright on February 1, 2018
      • Reply
  • Made this last night and it was SO good. I couldn’t believe how fluffy and delicious it turned out. Next time I’ll double the recipe and make two.

    • — Sarah on January 26, 2018
    • Reply
  • That method was wonderful – so much faster than the normal creaming method. Can I successfully put this method into practice with any pound cake recipe?

    • — Shelley on January 26, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Shelley, I agree – it’s so much easier! Technically yes but I find that if a recipe is tested using the creaming method, the high-ratio method can give you a totally different cake. If you try it, be sure that the weight of the sugar equals or exceeds the weight of the flour (calculate about 7 oz for a cup of sugar and 4 oz for a cup of flour).

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2018
      • Reply
  • What is 13 tablespoons of butter in gms? Thank you.

    • — Patricia Ng on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Patricia, If you look in the top right corner of the recipe, you’ll find a button that allows you to toggle between metric and cup measures. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Would it be possible to substitute coconut oil for the butter? Or do like 1/2 butter and 1/2 coconut oil?

    • — Farah on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend it, Farah. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn-

    I don’t have cake flour on hand. Could I use all purpose?

    • — Dawn C on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Dawn, Do you have any cornstarch? For every 1 cup of AP flour, replace 2 tablespoons with cornstarch to make your own cake flour. All purpose flour alone will work, but the cake won’t be nearly as light and tender.

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • If I wanted to make this into a marble cake, can you tell me your best choice of chocolate (melted? cocoa powder? syrup?) and how best to incorporate it?
    Many many thanks and I can’t tell you how very much I enjoy your recipies. They’re wonderful and very reliable!!!
    Many thanks,
    Jill Lustig

    • — Jill Lustig on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Jill, So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! I’d probably use Dutch-processed cocoa to make a marble cake with this batter — although it’s hard to know for sure how well it will work without trying it first.

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn

    Glad people asked about adding lemon such as your lemon pound cake recipe since I’ve made it six times now.

    I also wondered about adding blueberries?

    What do you think?

    • — Eric Dawson on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Eric, This cake isn’t overly sweet so I worry that the tartness of the blueberries would be overwhelming. If you’d like to make a blueberry cake, I highly recommend trying my Blueberry Boy Bait.

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
      • Oh Jenn, been there, loved it, renamed it “girl bait” 😉

        Thanks

        • — Eric Dawson on January 25, 2018
        • Reply
        • 😂

          • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
          • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Can you use regular all-purpose flour instead of cake flour?

    Thank you,
    Mary

    • — Mary on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, Do you have any cornstarch? For every 1 cup of AP flour, replace 2 tablespoons with cornstarch to make your own cake flour. All purpose flour alone will work, but the cake won’t be nearly as light and tender.

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Would you be able to double recipe and bake in tube or bundt pan??

    • — Debbie on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, I haven’t tried it but the author of the recipe notes that she tested the cake over 40 times and there was no way to get the same melt-in-your-mouth texture in a larger cake, so it’s best to keep the cake small. That said, you can safely double the recipe and use two 4-cup (8×4-in) loaf pans. The cake can also be made in a 6-cup loaf (9×5-in) or fluted tube pan. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • This looks delicious. Going to make it today. If I wanted a lemon or orange infused version, how much juice/rind should I add?
    Thank you.

    • — Peg on January 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Peg, That sounds delicious. I think I’d start with 1 to 2 teaspoons packed zest (depending on how strong you want the flavor). You could also make a drizzling glaze with confectioners sugar, zest, and citrus juice. I’d love to know how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
      • The glaze from your Lemon Buttermilk Cake is wonderful and could be a choice for for Peg.

        • — Cary Shaw on January 25, 2018
        • Reply
    • Hi Peg,
      Not sure if you’ve made it yet but I just did and used the zest and lemon glaze as suggested here. Came out wonderfully. Only one loaf left after 30 minutes!

      • — Eric Dawson on January 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Ooooooo! Now I know what I’m doing tonight!!!!

    • — pmm on January 25, 2018
    • Reply

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